When The Moon Fell Out Of The Sky

Submitted into Contest #156 in response to: Write about false news coverage of an important event.... view prompt


People of Color Fantasy

This story contains sensitive content

{content warning: language, mild gore}

A hunter lies in the grass, by the name of Akintoye. She caresses the coarse wood of her bow under her finger tips, feeling the weapon like it was her own skin. She breathes in sync with the lionesses set on their haunches beside her. Fire gleams in her eye and swells in her chest. It is no prey she is stalking, but a man by the name of Kolapo. He bears a purple cloak made of soft velvet, expensive jewelry illuminates his neck. Akintoye knows the secret to his wealth, the slaughter of legendary animals. She will now take her revenge under a fat and throbbing moon, it too feels the losses of the forest. Kolapo stands legs crossed in front of a pull cart just outside the city of Koulonkidi. He is smoking something, the foul smell threatens to make Akintoye break her focus. They are surrounded by people, Akintoye knows that she must flee after blood is spilled, even though she promised the lions a meal. Nothing goes to waste in the forest after all, but perhaps this man’s flesh deserves to burn. Soundlessly, the hunted notched a single arrow. It had been cleansed of any markings, she was mindful enough to know that Kolapo’s death could start a war between the regions so the arrow must be untraceable. She then drew back the string, muscles rippling with strength under the moonlight. She takes her time before releasing, steadying the arrow’s head with deadly accuracy until loosing the arrow directly into Kolapo’s heart. He silently falls, an overwhelming amount of blood gushing from the wound and staining his cloak. Akintoye scrunchies her nose at the smell of rich iron in the air along with the smell of rotten meat. His death was long overdue. Then the shouting begins as people take notice. It is no harm to the hunter, she and the lionesses have already slithered through the tall grass into the safety of the forest. 

Akintoye is well regarded in her village, even though most view her as an outsider. She herself felt like she didn’t have a proper place anywhere. Akintoye was born in Zaru, upstream from Koulonkidi and on the edge of a lush rainforest surrounding a basin. She refused to speak for the duration of her childhood. The elders began formulating a theory for this; they thought Akintoye was cursed by the goddess Ienta as she was born with gold flecks in her eyes, indicating she will succumb to greed in the future. Because of this, Akintoye’s mother abandoned her in the depths of the rainforest when she was nearly ten years of age. She survived from the help of the Moon Prince who discovered her pressed up against the back of a mother leopard who had recently lost her kits. She was not cursed, but blessed with incredible strength and awareness similar to a large cat. Trained to respect all life and armed with a dangerous skillset, Akintoye returned to the village at 25 years old after hearing words on the wind detailing terrors from a werehyena. The hunter managed to capture the beast and haul it through the grasslands to be cured by an underground witch. It was there Akintoye proved herself with the rainforest who raised her and gained the respect and welcome from the people of Zaru. Not only was she able to rejoin the village, but she also proved to the townsfolk that their animal neighbors were friends. Relations between animals and people were shaky, many thought their four-legged acquaintances were simply less civilized than themselves and therefore had less value. This mindset justified all kinds of brutality to the inhabitants of the wild in the form of senseless killing. Akintoye knew these beliefs were false, the gods distributed consciousness blindly. They did not favor humans. So, after learning Akintoye was raised by beasts, the town of Zaru opened their doors to the forest, sharing food with the predators they once feared. Even the Moon Prince was a common visitor in the town, although he preferred staying with the herd of elephants at the base of the basin. He once told Akintoye that the elephants were far smarter than people, they already had a good grasp on mathematics and astronomy. The people of Zaru soon learned how prosperous living in harmony with all the creatures of the land turned out to be. It seemed each group had something to teach. The cultural differences were significant, the lions especially were fearful of the fire that the townsfolk relied on and the people tried not to grimace when seeing animals devour raw meat. Akintoye is now 27 years old and works as a vigilante for Zaru, protecting her people and the peaceful animals of the forest. Armed with a sword made out of the tooth of an ancient leviathan and a bow crafted by the Sefu people of the mountain, Akintoye is said to possess the strength of ten men. She is light footed like a cat and rarely speaks, but has a beaming smile and kind eyes. 

When the news of Kolapo spread like a burning leaf across the region, Akintoye was careful not to show contentment and deep satisfaction that his evil soul was disposed of. Most people weren’t too concerned with the death of a rich merchant as most held traditional beliefs surrounding humility. However, the concern began to spike when the townspeople learned how he had died. They learned from travelers that he was murdered by a cheetah, mauled and horribly disfigured yet not eaten. It was said the attack was an act of senseless violence, not out of starvation. Akintoye recoiled after hearing the story, bewildered at how the story had been falsified in this manner. The death of Kolapo was to be celebrated, he had been charged with slaughtering creatures with abilities of the gods. He had killed the thousand year old viper that heals the sick with her bite. However, there was no way to prove it wasn’t in fact a cheetah without admitting her own guilt. So she stayed silent, shame dragging her down like a rock in her stomach, observing as the people of Zaru cautiously eyed the beasts that were once trusted within the town. Two weeks had passed with little tension until another piece of news had come to light. A prominent political figure in the city of Jogos was dismembered by a wildebeest, or that’s what was spoken in the town’s square. A mere day after, a child had been apparently stolen by a pack of hyenas, not making it out alive. Soon, word of a bloody massacre committed by a lion stunned the people. Alarms were going off in the heads of the townsfolk and soon the animals were driven out in a burst of anger, even those that had been known as domesticated. The people started praying for their safety, asking the gods to protect them if a civil war started between the people of the town and the animals of the rainforest. The townsfolk built a tall clay wall, secluding them from any potential invaders- Akintoye watched in sadness as her world was essentially ripped in two. She had to sneak out in the dead of night to visit her friends in the rainforest, the townsfolk began to look at her with disgust when she came back in the morning smelling like fresh leaves and fur. Then things began escalating in cities across the region. Armies had begun killing and imprisoning predators, selling their pelts and claws to increase the faltering economy. It was for the safety of the children, they preached. Upon hearing this, Akintoye boiled. Her anger turned into strength and she set her mind to turn herself in, despite the risks. If they knew a human had killed Kolapo, perhaps the heat would be taken off the innocents. She decided to congregate with the Moon Prince before leaving and set off to descend into the basin as the sun was rising.

After a couple of hours of steadily walking, she found the man lazily sprawled out on the back of an elephant knees deep in the water. The elephants look far larger than she had remembered, and there were hundreds of them. He looked to be about her age, but she knew he was thousands of years old. He bore a full moon marking on his chest, bright enough to illuminate a whole city. She waded in the shallow water, snaking through the elephants until she was close enough to see the soft features of his face

“I prophesied your arrival, Akintoye” He spoke without looking up to greet her. For a thousand year old divine being, he was quite foolish and naive in personality. She chuckled gingerly, “Or did you just hear me coming, hm?” Akintoye’s voice hadn’t yet found its volume but the Moon Prince could hear her alright. He sat up and took Akintoye in with grey glossy eyes, “What do I owe the pleasure of your visit, are you here for a rematch?” His gaze flickered to Akintoye’s bow. Although her heart ached at the chance she would never beat her teacher in accuracy, she knew what she was doing was the right thing. 

“I am here to say goodbye, I must allow myself to be charged with Kolapo’s murder- innocents are being punished” It was as if a shadow had crossed the Moon Prince’s face. 


“Nothing you say will change my mind when it is justice that motivates my actions”

“It will mean nothing,” his voice was warning, a tone of bitterness that was foreign to Akintoye, “the cityfolk have made up their mind about the creatures they share this full world with… if you want to help then raise the children in the village the way the leopard raised you: to love all. It is too late for this generation. Those in power benefit from the distention and they will not release their hold so easily.” Akintoye shook her head, suddenly feeling ill. All hope could not be lost, could it? Just from some lies? 

“Once they learn the truth, they will realize the animals are not the enemy. It is the liars we must be wary of.” Akintoye preserved her faith in humanity, it was not too late to repair the divide. With that, she departed, the Moon Prince anxiously watching her go. She knew she was going to see him again, she was going to spread the truth not going to condemn herself. After a couple days of rest in Zaru, she took her leave for Koulonkidi. She followed the river, mindfully traversing with incredible efficiency and determination. As she approached Koulonkidi, the rainforest began to thin out and the wet moss was replaced with tall yellow grass. The temperature also increased, beads of sweat dripped from her forehead as her journey came to a close. She was going to spend one last night in the forest before potentially risking her safety. The moon illuminated her skin and washed her with love, the animals around her were careful not to disturb her sleep. 

In the morning she carefully made her way through the city, not used to the large buildings and swarms of people. She was looking for a man by the name of Omanaide, who was part of a council that governed Koulonkidi, Zaru, and three more small villages. After apprehensively asking around, she found his place of work and silently slipped in through a window. The man was well fed in a word, also sporting a similar cloak to Kolapo. This is when Akintoye began to feel something was very wrong, the Moon Prince’s words reverberated in her mind. She had to at least try. Omanaide thought he was being assassinated and stumbled out his chair gasping for air, desperately trying to muster out a call for help. Akintoye started apologizing profusely, shaking with embarrassment and regret. When the man finally returned to his previously peaceful state, still wiping the sweat off his face with a cloth, Akintoye started her confession.

“I am the one who killed Kolapo. I did it after he killed the healing viper and countless other animals the rainforest had grown to depend on. It wasn’t a cheetah, it was me. I also believe the deaths of all the others were not committed by animals, they are still peaceful towards us. I hope you can spread the news and we can live with each other once more.” She didn’t know how to regard someone of his stature, so she just stood while he slowly sweeped the room with his eyes. After a brief pause, he leaned back in his chair and met Akintoye’s gaze. 

“How stupid do you think we are, girl?”

“I promise it was me, I can-”

“No no no,” he waved his hand, “We know it was a person, we just needed a good story to finally put those beasts in their fucking place. Everyone will remember that old Kolapo was mauled by a cheetah.”

Akintoye froze, heart beating in her ears. She wanted to end this man. Her haunches rose and suddenly she was yelling “I’ll tell everyone how you lied! They will know the truth and you will be-”

Omanaide, in an instant, was up and had a spear extended out towards her. “Shut the fuck up!” he bellowed, spitting everywhere, thrusting the spear closer to her face, “Leave now, I am growing tired of your simpleness. If you want to shit with animals in the forest that is no concern of mine. I am expecting a shipment of elephant trunks soon, so get the fuck out or I will kill you and display your fucking head next to that cheetah’s!” 

Dread flooded through Akintoye, quickly she slinked out of the window and sprinted straight toward the treeline, feeling the blood pulsating in her legs and carrying her faster than she had ever ran before. She wasn’t scared for her own safety, no. She could easily mutilate that man. 

She reached the basin by nightfall and under a sky with no moon realized she was too late. The forest was silent. It was mourning. Akintoye slowly raised a hand to her mouth. How did they manage this carnage at such a large degree? The bodies of elephants all lacked tusks, some lacked ears and trunks. Once clear water was now dark red, swirling and pooling as she waded through. The Moon Prince was face down, a large gash stretching across his back. She picked him up gently in her arms, keeping his face above the water like he was still alive and breathing. She rested her forehead in between his neck and shoulder, trying to fight down waves of fear and love.

Feverish grief made her whole body ache and groan with pain. Frustration rose and grew like a wildfire as the shock wore off. As before, her anger turned into fuel and she released the Moon Prince into the water. 

“I promise I will never let anyone suffer like you all have, animal and man alike.” With eyes full of tears, she spoke these words into the wind and turned to face the town, shaking with determination and hungry for nothing less than peace. The Moon will have a better world to return to.


“It is not our diversity which divides us; it is not our ethnicity, or religion or culture that divides us. Since we have achieved our freedom, there can only be one division amongst us: between those who cherish democracy and those who do not.” (Nelson Mandela)

July 24, 2022 05:35

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Cole Hiller
15:12 Aug 07, 2022

I really enjoyed this! It's refreshing to read something that focusses on West African myths for a change. I love both the literal and metaphoric message that this story gives, it is very relavant in today's society.


Isa C
21:19 Aug 07, 2022

Thank you! :)


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Graham Kinross
05:28 Jul 31, 2022

It’s nice to read less Eurocentric mythology. It’s easier to base our works on that because we know them but it also means more familiar plot points and recognisable characters instead of getting something fresh, nice work.


Isa C
22:20 Aug 01, 2022

Thank you, I really appreciate it!


Graham Kinross
23:07 Aug 01, 2022

No problem.


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Isa C
09:13 Jul 30, 2022

End of Story notes! Many of the characters/general themes are based on prominent West African myths. If the reader has an interest in Greek/Roman/Egyptian mythology, I encourage them to look into myths that originated from Africa as well! African mythology commonly gets buried due to perhaps unintentional bias in the historical community but it has just as much if not more depth and richness as all other tales from around the world. On a different tone, it is easy to lash out at anyone who expresses any sort of discriminatory behavior. Howev...


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